Friday, August 21, 2009

The SPP is dead; long live the PPA

Last week, the official US home of the SPP, read:

"The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) is no longer an active initiative and as such this website will act as an archive for SPP documents. There will not be any updates to this site."
This week it seems they did think of an update after all. :

"Going forward, we want to build on the accomplishments achieved by the SPP and further improve our cooperation."

We are then redirected to the Joint Statement by the North American Leaders (August 10, 2009) [excerpt mine] :

"Our three governments recognize that we cannot limit our efforts to North America alone, and we have agreed to instruct our respective Ministers to strive for greater cooperation and coordination as we work to promote security and institutional development with our neighbors in Central America and the Caribbean ...

We commend the progress achieved on reducing unnecessary regulatory differences and have instructed our respective Ministers to continue this work by building on the previous efforts, developing focused priorities and a specific timeline. "

So in other words - expanding some version of the SPP of North America to include Central and South America as well.

Didn't this used to be called the FTAA, the spectacularly FAIL Free Trade Area of the Americas ?
You know : "We, the democratically elected Heads of State and Government of the Americas, have met in Quebec City at our Third Summit, to renew our commitment to hemispheric integration." Followed by 100,000+ protesters, rubber bullets, and so much tear gas that the we-the-democratically-elected could smell it inside their summit.

Enter FTAA Plan B - Bush's final gift to Obama in Sept 2008
The Pathways to Prosperity of the Americas was announced at the headquarters of the corporate lobby group Council of the Americas.
Heide Bronke, U.S. State Department, in the Miami Herald in 2008:
''Eleven leaders in the hemisphere met with our president and stood with him in a project aimed at expanding economic integration. This is not just free trade, it's a political vision for the hemisphere."
Current member states : US, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay

The rightwing Heritage Foundation : Finding Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas

"The PPA is an attempt to re-energize U.S. government and regional efforts to enlarge a free trade area in the Western Hemisphere and create positive momentum for open-market policies that will carry over into the next Administration.

Styled in part after other current efforts to improve economic relations with key trade and investment partners--such as the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (U.S., Canada, and Mexico) - the PPA would provide a forum for not only finding avenues to improve the flow of commerce but also promoting greater coherence and consistency in the rules specified under the five separate free trade agreements (FTAs) that currently define trade between PPA members. With the basic trade agreements already in place, members of the PPA can focus on dismantling remaining barriers to trade and ensuring that business is able to take advantage of new opportunities brought by lower trade and investment barriers.

On a grander scale, success under the PPA could result in new momentum for concluding a broader Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA)."

So did the PPA manage to "carry over into the next Administration"?

Address of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State
Pathways to Prosperity Ministerial, May 31, 2009
US State Dept website :

"President Obama has emphasized that it's not important whether ideas come from one party or another, so long as they move us in the right direction. This meeting builds on the work of the previous U.S. administration, but the President and I are also committed to re-launching Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas and expanding its work to spread the benefits of economic recovery, growth, and open markets ..."
Elsewhere Senator Clinton has described the Pathways to Prosperity accord as "a multilateral initiative to promote shared security and prosperity throughout the Americas".

Alliance for Responsible Trade :

"The PPA bears many of the hallmarks of the SPP. According to the Mexican Action Network on Free Trade, the PPA is "based on two similar components to the SPP: on one hand an economic, mercantile and financial agenda covered by the term ‘prosperity', and on the other a ‘security' agenda of enhancing military and police powers to combat terrorism, narcotraffic, illegal migration, etc.." The PPA, like the SPP, is little more than an attempt to justify economic deregulation and to promote an escalation of militarism in the region."

Stuart Trew from the Council of Canadians writes The SPP is dead, so where's the champagne? :
"The NAFTA-plus agenda died in Guadalajara, Mexico last week. We killed it. And we should be singing it from the rooftops."

Ok, just one glass of champagne, Stuart, but then as you say : Back to work.
Because we don't care what it's called : SPP, North American Union, deep integration, the Monroe Doctrine, Manifest Destiny, Pathways to Prosperity of the Americas. We don't care. Really. Call it whatever you like.


West End Bob said...

Different name, same game . . . .

Chris Foote said...

Except the game seems to be getting a lot bigger. Canada recently signed some trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and Peru.

Here in Colombia, the United States has just been given use of 7 military bases. This along with the FTTA will increase tensions with Chavez, other leftist leaders and groups.

Alison said...

Bob : All part of The Great Game ...

Hi Chris, oh hero of the SPP Banff reportage ;-)
The trade agreement with Colombia will hopefully get sent back to parliament by the Senate for amendment before it goes through. There's considerable opposition to it from NDP, Bloc and Lib MPs.
The one with Peru positively galloped through parliament without debate on the last day of this last session.

The most likely purpose of the PPA is to counter UNASUR. Meanwhile Minister of the Americas Peter Kent is mia on Honduras, at least publicly, after blaming Zelaya a whole month ago.

btw Congratulations on your marriage; anything we can do up here to expedite your wife's immigration woes?

Chris Foote said...


It's like a political arms race down here. Countries are expected to join sides. I hate the political mentality in latin america that there are two options, full capitalism or full socialism. Nobody considers what might be in the middle.

As for my wife's immigration, all I can say is that Canadians have no idea how horrible the immigration system is. Once our case is over, I will work on educating people about the problem but I am at their mercy and don't want to rub them the wrong way.

This problem has only gotten bad in the last 10 years. Sometimes makes it impossible for Canadians to see their spouses and/or dependent children for over 3 years. I probably will never feel the same about Canada as I once did.

My immigration to Colombia took 1 day and my national id card was delivered to my hotel 2 days later. Colombia has far greater security concerns too.

My wife isn't allowed to visit Canada. Only about 5% of the people in the world would ever be allowed to visit Canada and the number keeps shrinking.

Alison said...

Chris : I got a glimpse of the horrors of our new smart borders when I tried to renew my elapsed Canadian passport - it took nine months, notwithstanding I have no record and have been a Canadian citizen with a Canadian passport for decades.
Good luck to you and yours. We all owe you.

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